for Avid Chewers
Is your child an avid chewer? Does he / she chew on his hands or knuckles? Or go through several shirts a day? If so, there are several things you can do to meet this oral sensory need. The first step is to offer a safe alternative for chewing. The products listed below are all medical grade oral motor chew tools that provide safe sensory input to the lips, tongue, cheeks, and especially the jaw. Each time your child reaches for an inappropriate item to chew on, replace it with one of the following tools. Be consistent and patient.
Once you click through to any of the products below, you'll notice that they all come in 3 color-coded toughness levels. The XXT level (which stands for "Xtra Xtra Tough") is the toughest level. XXT is the most rigid level, and is typically the longest lasting option for avid chewers (for individuals who can chew through things fairly easily).
- The options with long extensions (the Grabber, Y-Chew, Guitar, Krypto-Bite, Brick Stick, and Bite Saber) allow you to reach all the way to the back molars, which is where chewing is needed the most / where chewing provides the most proprioceptive input to the jaw.
- The "beefier" / wider necklace options (like the Super Star, Dino-Bite, and Basketball) usually last longer than the more slim/slender/back molar options (like the Brick Stick, Krypto-Bite, and Bite Saber).
- The handheld options usually last longer than the necklaces since they have more surface area to chew on.
- The Y-Chew® XXT is typically the overall longest lasting chew - it has 3 different extensions to chew on, which tends to most evenly distribute the wear.
Please note that providing a safe outlet for chewing may not be the only thing your child needs. Doing gum massage on a regular basis, for instance, can be very beneficial to provide proprioceptive input to all areas of the mouth. Adding harder-to-chew foods to the diet may help as well. Figuring out why they need to chew can be helpful (is something in his/her life causing extra stress/anxiety that can be decreased or managed?). And lastly, consult with an occupational therapist (OT) to see if what's called a "sensory diet" of activities will help calm / regulate their sensory system.